Ah, Big 12 football. Oklahoma-Texas. OSU-Texas Tech. Kansas State-Iowa State. Ancient feuds. New rivals. Common histories.
And then there's TCU-West Virginia. The Big 12's newcomers play Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va., and the Horned Frogs and Mountaineers can compare their October wounds.
Both teams left September ranked – WVU No. 8, TCU No. 15 – and unbeaten. But they went a combined 2-5 in October. Of their combined four conference victories, three have come against Baylor and Kansas, both winless in conference play.
“Our group … understood the competition going into the season, and it hasn't been any different," Frogs coach Gary Patterson said. "Usually when you're closer in competition, it's going to be six, eight plays that are going to be the difference in the ballgame. That's held up to be pretty true so far.”
In TCU's defense, the Frogs have been beset by injuries and the loss of troubled quarterback Casey Pachall.
West Virginia's problems have been a season-long porous defense and a suddenly impotent offense. Three weeks ago, quarterback Geno Smith was a Heisman Trophy favorite. Now the Mountaineers have scored three offensive touchdowns total the last two games.
“I don't remember the last time we lost two games in a row, but it's the reality of this situation,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “Every game is going to be tough.”
The Mountaineers were steamrolled at Texas Tech 49-14, then lost at home to Kansas State 55-14.
During a bye week last Saturday, “a lot of our guys turned the TV on and saw Kansas State win another big game,” Holgorsen said. “Unfortunately, it was against Texas Tech, that was our other loss prior.”
Holgorsen laughed. Probably good therapy for the Mountaineers and Frogs as they adjust to life in the Big 12.